Seville Michelle describes her jewelry journey as a journey of healing, moving from a costume designer who made jewelry on the side to moving upmarket during the pandemic to becoming a full-time jeweler who has found personal and professional success .
For Michelle, this success means taking all of her clients with them, maintaining the craftsmanship of her work, and helping other women find their own healing. It’s a long list of things to do, but Michelle is the type of person who believes that everything she does has greater meaning.
“The universe will give you things, but you have to participate,” Michelle says. “You have to be ready to be considered. You must love yourself and your business as you love others. It really took me squatting during the pandemic to have the nerve to respond to my business like others did. “
Although she believes in karma, Michelle is also a woman born to two immigrants – a Cuban mother and a Greek father – and raised in Queens, NY, who knows that sometimes you have to create your own magic. It means asking others for help, as she did recently on the “That Will Never Work” podcast, where Michelle received specific advice on how to increase her sales and grow her brand from the co-founder of Netflix (and podcast host) Marc Randolph.
Michelle’s podcast episode took place in November 2021 and Randolph advised Michelle on several ways to develop the Seville Michelle brand. First, he suggested that she share her jewelry knowledge on her website with her clients, perhaps translating her love of teaching jewelry into videos that she could post regularly.
Then Randolph suggested that she continue her efforts to have her brand made in the USA and by hand, which Michelle says she is proud of, as it helped her heal when she was suffering from personal loss. He also said Michelle might need to expand that circle to include other artisans so she can scale the business appropriately.
Michelle views Randolph’s advice and her own experiences leading up to this podcast as important steps in her personal and professional growth as a jeweler. Now she’s working on telling others what she’s learned along the way, and is exploring how she can tell those same stories through her jewelry.
“If you have the card, you absolutely have to share it,” says Michelle.
Michelle started designing jewelry about 13 years ago. She had worn jewelry throughout her life, from door knocker earrings to chunky gold chains to religious saints pendants. She collected jewelry when she traveled and found that owning something created by artisans from this part of the world was not only a wonderful memory of the place, but also gave her a sense of the people who were artists there.
Michelle started making jewelry that she wanted to wear and quickly found success. Michelle’s epaulettes (shoulder jewelry) took off right away, especially after some of her work was featured on Glamour.com.
For her next act, she took classic hoop earrings and added her own touch by wrapping them in Italian leather. Soon musicians of all skill levels as well as everyday women wore her earrings. These iconic leather door knockers have been featured on magazine covers and have achieved huge success, she says. She also worked with Patricia Field’s House of Field and sold her accessories there.
Yet she continued to seek her own definition of success, knowing those professional highs among some personal lows. It was then that she came across a book that made her think about her business in a new way.
In this book, The knitting circle, by Ann Hood, the author tells the semi-autobiographical story of a woman recovering from the death of a child by knitting and learning to share her grief with a circle of other women. Michelle says she has also found solace in her jewelry.
“Through this experience of doing things with my hands, the healing happened in a way I never expected,” Michelle says.
Then the coronavirus pandemic struck. Michelle says she knew it was time for a change. She revamped her website. She came up with new ideas. She applied and appeared on a podcast. Everything pushed her in a new direction.
“Between costume design and styling for fashion shoots, I’ve always had my jewelry line. It was only after the pandemic, when I had no job at all, that I really, completely and wholeheartedly focused on this incredible gift from the universe, ”said Michelle. “I knew it was time to give her the support she really needed to take off like a real business.”
With her new slogan “Earrings come in all shapes, colors and sizes,” which highlights how earrings reflect the inclusion of all people and all body types, Michelle hopes to inspire women to wear what makes them wonderful and share her jewelry in new ways. Here she is, a woman from Queens who now has a credible jewelry line and Accessory Council membership, a long-standing goal that came true in 2021.
Michelle hopes her efforts to make her dreams come true will inspire others.
“I have always been creative. As a costume designer, I have had to work at all levels over the years. But without a job, I had to survive, ”says Michelle. “It was a great opportunity for me to explore what it means to survive again in a different way. “
Above: Seville Michelle has evolved her business from being a sideline to her full-time passion during the pandemic, gaining advice along the way from luminaries such as costume designer Patricia Field and Netflix co-founder Marc Randolph (all photos are courtesy of Seville Michelle).
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